Treatment of pica through multiple analyses of its reinforcing functions

Cathleen C. Piazza, Wayne W. Fisher, Gregory P. Hanley, Linda A. LeBlanc, April S. Worsdell, Steven E. Lindauer, Kris M. Keeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


We conducted functional analyses of the pica of 3 participants. The pica of 1 participant appeared to be maintained by automatic reinforcement; that of the other 2 participants appeared to be multiply controlled by social and automatic reinforcement. Subsequent preference and treatment analyses were used to identify stimuli that would compete with the automatic function of pica for the 3 participants. These analyses also identified the specific aspect of oral stimulation that served as automatic reinforcement tor 2 of the participants. In addition, functional analysis-based treatments were used to address the socially motivated components of 2 of the participants' pica. Results are discussed in terms of (a) the importance of using the results of functional analyses to develop treatments for pica and (b) the advantages of developing indirect analyses to identify specific sources of reinforcement for automatically reinforced behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-189
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Automatic reinforcement
  • Functional analysis
  • Multiply controlled behavior
  • Pica
  • Preference assessments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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